Author Archives: Whitney

Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

I really want to start this blog back up again. I hope all the originals want to get back into it, but I also think maybe we could get some new people, too. It gave us a chance to hear albums in their entirety, delve into some context, listen to things we might never have heard otherwise, and will now provide a nice distraction from grading endless freshman rhetoric papers.

Adorable dress or weirdo nightgown?

My pick is Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis. It’s a highly regarded hall-of-famer type choice, and an album I’ve heard a lot about, but I still have never listened to the whole thing. It’s hard to move past “Son of a Preacher Man” (perfection), but supposedly the rest of the album lives up to the single.

She’s so pathetic! She sings lines like “Oh, baby, I’m begging you, Won’t you reach out for my dying soul?” and “Today I cannot borrow a minute of your tomorrow, But don’t let it cause you sorrow, Please, don’t forget about me now, baby” without any shame. She’s devastated, her voice wavers, she pleads with ex-boyfriends, and then she puts it out there – straight to the top of the Billboard list. Starlee Kine talks about how freeing Springfield’s honesty is in this This American Life episode.  Sometimes you don’t need to dance with “All the Single Ladies;” sometimes you need to fall down on your bed and cry with Dusty.

She’s British, but Dusty in Memphis was her effort to establish herself as a soul singer in America. Collaborating with Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin on Atlantic Records and singing songs written by Carole King and Randy Newman, she seems to have solidified her place in American music. She – and this album, specifically- appears on top 100 lists all the time, for whatever that’s worth.

This download includes the original 11 tracks and some mono versions. It doesn’t include any of the many extra songs that appeared on any of the rereleases. Let me know if something goes wrong with the link and I can put up a password protected link.

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Nina Nastasia – The Blackened Air

So I haven’t listened to this album at all yet. I haven’t really listened to any of her stuff all that much. But I like her voice. I guess that’s all there is to say, really. Oh yeah, she’s cool looking, I think:

nina nastasia

Anyway, pretty basic contemporary indie-folk pick (which is a kind of music I’ve really liked this past little while). I hope it works out.

Bessie Smith – Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues

I’m really excited about this album. Bessie Smith is someone I’ve heard about, but have never really given enough attention to in favor of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone and other really well-known blues singers. But, from what I’ve heard so far, she seems totally awesome. The lyrics to the first song on this album are so sad, but she sings it in this voice that’s just like “well-what-can-you-do?”

Bessie Smith

She has a way of sounding sexy and on the verge of cracking up at the same time.

And I chose this collection because it seems like Scorsese puts a lot of effort into finding the most authentic performances in his blues documentary series. I guess there have been a lot of problems with her recordings with pitch and tone, and from what I’ve read this one is pretty close.

So far I’m in love. I hope you guys like it.